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Recollections of My Youth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 258 pages of information about Recollections of My Youth.
clearer into the depths.  By endeavouring to increase the treasure of the truths which form the paid-up capital of humanity, we shall be carrying on the work of our pious ancestors, who loved the good and the true as it was understood in their time.  The most fatal error is to believe that one serves one’s country by calumniating those who founded it.  All ages of a nation are leaves of the self-same book.  The true men of progress are those who profess as their starting-point a profound respect for the past.  All that we do, all that we are, is the outcome of ages of labour.  For my own part, I never feel my liberal faith more firmly rooted in me than when I ponder over the miracles of the ancient creed, nor more ardent for the work of the future than when I have been listening for hours to the bells of the city of Is.

[Footnote 1:  Upon the very day that this volume was going to press, news reached me of the death of my brother, snapping the last thread of the recollections of my childhood’s home.  My brother Alain was a warm and true friend to me; he never failed to understand me, to approve my course of action and to love me.  His clear and sound intellect and his great capacity for work adapted him for a profession in which mathematical knowledge is of value or for magisterial functions.  The misfortunes of our family caused him to follow a different career, and he underwent many hardships with unshaken courage.  He never complained of his lot, though life had scant enjoyment save that which is derived from love of home.  These joys are, however, unquestionably the most unalloyed.]

THE FLAX-CRUSHER.

PART I.

Treguier, my native place, has grown into a town out of an ancient monastery founded at the close of the fifth century by St. Tudwal (or Tual), one of the religious leaders of those great migratory movements which introduced into the Armorican peninsula the name, the race, and the religious institutions of the island of Britain.  The predominating characteristic of early British Christianity was its monastic tendency, and there were no bishops, at all events among the immigrants, whose first step, after landing in Brittany, the north coast of which must at that time have been very sparsely inhabited, was to build large monasteries, the abbots of which had the cure of souls.  A circle of from three to five miles in circumference, called the minihi, was drawn around each monastery, and the territory within it was invested with special privileges.

The monasteries were called in the Breton dialect pabu after the monks (papae), and in this way the monastery of Treguier was known as Pabu Tual.

It was the religious centre of all that part of the peninsula which stretches northward.  Monasteries of a similar kind at St. Pol de Leon, St. Brieuc, St. Malo, and St. Samson, near Dol, held a like position upon the coast.  They possessed, if one may so speak, their diocese, for in these regions separated from the rest of Christianity nothing was known of the power of Rome and of the religious institutions which prevailed in the Latin world, or even in the Gallo-Roman towns of Rennes and Nantes, hard by.

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